Market Insight

LED video displays at the center stage of signage and professional displays market

February 19, 2015

Sanju Khatri Sanju Khatri Director, Consulting and Strategic Advisory Services

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LED video displays have finally moved to the mainstream signage and professional displays market.  This was evident at Integrated Systems Europe 2015 in Amsterdam, where most of the display brands showcased their new LED video display products in an effort to seamlessly cater to both indoor and outdoor applications.

Flat panel display brand, Samsung, launched a new 1.1 mm pixel pitch LED video display product which is anticipated to begin shipping in 2016. NEC displayed their existing 6.0 mm LED video display and Eyevis showcased an array of LED video modules ranging from 1.5 mm, 2.0 mm to 2.5 mm. An existing participant of the LED video market, Barco expanded its product line with their new X series with pixel pitch ranging from 1.6 mm to 2.7 mm.  Vtron introduced their VLED series with 1.488 mm and 1.92 mm pixel pitch.

A plethora of Chinese brands were also present at ISE this year, launching high density pixel pitch LED video displays. Besides the top Chinese brands – Absen, Leyard, Unilumin and Liantronics, also presenting indoor LED video displays were Lightking, Hibino, Retop, CLT LED, Artixium, and Q-Color. Another notable LED video product is Magnolia from SiliconCore at 1.5 mm pixel pitch.

Our Analysis:

Why are flat panel brands introducing LED video display products?

Conversion from static to digital signs has been well underway for indoor applications.  However, due to limitations of LCD and LED video technologies, outdoor and semi-outdoor applications requiring a combination of high resolution and high brightness video capabilities have been largely untapped.  With the availability of sub 2.0 mm pixel pitch LED video displays, along with high brightness outdoor LCDs, display vendors are in a more favorable position to provide a complete solution of offerings to target all areas of the market.

Furthermore, LCD brands realize there will be a size limitation affecting how large they can efficiently and effectively manufacture and most importantly, transport these monolithic displays.  The modularity of LED technology makes it very easy to transport and tile together for custom sized video wall solutions.

In short, LED video displays will be a natural product line extension of current LCD brands.

Will the market see a competitive or a symbiotic relationship between these two technologies?

IHS believes that LED video and LCDs will mostly have a symbiotic relationship in the next two years.

With the brightness limitations of LCDs and resolution/viewing distance limitations of LED video displays, these two technologies will see a minor overlap in large-format semi-outdoor applications.  Viewing distance, resolution, size and cost will determine suitability of each technology in a given semi-outdoor application.

However, as both technologies evolve, with higher resolution in LED video progressing and LCDs gain more nits in brightness, we will see a more competitive relationship between the two technologies in the long term.

How will display brands differentiate their LCD and LED video products?

LCD brands will need to re-market their current LED-backlight LCD products to move away from “LED” back to LCD displays. Additionally, LED video displays could be re-marketed as “Direct View” LED video displays.

Display brands can further position their LCD and LED video products based on several aspects, such as size, brightness, resolution, price and applications. LED video displays can overcome the size limitations of LCDs, producing higher brightness required for semi-outdoor applications. However, price remains the biggest difference between the two technologies. LED video displays with less than 2mm pixel pitch can cost up to $60,000 USD per square meter versus the LCD equivalent of $1,000 USD for a 60-inch FHD TV.

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